The plan was to drive to Spain on the motorway. But after pulling off the A31 seventy odd miles past Nancy – in response to a sign for Hotel Moderne at Montigny-le-Roi – we quickly reconsidered.
It was late. Montigny-le-Roi, up the hill from the hotel, was pitch black and deserted. The only lit building was the bar. We sat outside in shirtsleeves with a couple of beers. Presently, the idea of racing to Barcelona just seemed wrong.
So the next morning we set off cross country heading south west, navigating by compass – and good luck – after our ridiculously large scale map proved useless.
Consequently it’s impossible to say exactly where we went… Foothills soon gave way to the Massif Central mountain range, cutting down through the Auvergne.
Random roadside chateaus were the least of it. On the outside hairpin bends the view turned 270° through the windscreen, literally breathtaking, or at least breath-catching.
We ended up, late again, at Ambert after 280 miles.